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Source: (consider it) Thread: Can you type?
seekingsister
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# 17707

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I've noticed in my years living in the UK that the vast majority of my British (and some European) colleagues cannot touch-type. We had typing classes in school in the US, and outside of that computer programs like "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" were very popular in the 1990s.

This might be a pond difference, or a generational difference (although even a 21 year old graduate I worked with told me he'd never been taught typing).

So - can you touch type, or do you look down at the keyboard and punch at it with your index fingers? And if you can't touch type, would you want to learn?

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Lucia

Looking for light
# 15201

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Touch typing was not taught at my school or university in the UK when I was doing them during the 1980s. However during the 90s I spent some of my lunchtimes at work using "Mavis Beacon" and so taught myself basic touch typing. I do tend to look at the keyboard but I can type without doing so and it taught me to use all the fingers to cover the different keys. And it is certainly a lot faster to type that way than to use just two fingers!

[ 23. May 2014, 12:07: Message edited by: Lucia ]

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Gareth
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# 2494

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It's not taught in schools (or at least wasn't when I retired from teaching two years ago.)

I learned by using an electronic typewriter 25 years ago, and continuing to use computers as much as possible since then. When I took my MA ten years ago, I was unique in the classes I attended for being the only one who took lecture notes on a laptop - by then I could type at least twice as fast as I could write.

I've watched my 16-year-old daughter type and, apart from her strange habit of hitting capslock before and after letters to get capitals, she's pretty good - and she doesn't look at the keyboard either. No-one ever taught her to type.

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Adam.

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One of my mother's jobs (before I was around) was as a typing teacher, so it was a very clear standard in our household that we would type properly! We had a computer program to practice with. My memory is we did have practice in primary school as well, but probably nothing afterwards, and that it wasn't particularly intense.

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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I can't touch type, but it was Mrs Sioni's trade. She learned copy and audio typing and could type at about 65 wpm. Still pretty quick even on a tablet or surface.

I type at the same speed I think at, which is a whole lot slower.

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lily pad
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We had mandatory typing classes in grades 7-9 and I continued with typing in grade 11. Today, it is called keyboarding class. Students begin learning how to type properly in the elementary grades and learn how to format a variety of the projects that we did in typing class such as formal letters, invoices, reports and memos. In addition, they practice with PowerPoint, email and other computer related applications.

I am thankful that they don't know the agony of having to spend eight hours typing up an error free five page paper with footnotes!

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Firenze

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In my day typing was one of those things - like Domestic Science - that was seen as a female skill. I'm pretty sure I have an RSA Stage III certificate in it somewhere.

The irony is that now I mostly use the iPad and am therefore back to pecking out text (like this) with one finger on a virtual keyboard.

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Lord Jestocost
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# 12909

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An extracurricular touch typing course at school meant I could do it 30wpm for a while, which was handy for earning money on the student paper. Since the advent of the word processor, and hence infinite capacity for rewriting with zero pressure for first time accuracy, I have since deteriorated into merely a very fast two-finger typist, though I still use my thumb on the spacebar (and little finger for carriage return).
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Schroedinger's cat

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When I was at school, typing was definitely a girls thing, and I was at a boys school (sort of). So we didn't have it as part of the normal curriculum. I think by the time I left (and there were girls in the school) typing classes were available, but no-one - not even the computer geeks I was with - considered that boys should take them, because if we needed typing done, we would always have a secretary to do it for us.

I do not touch type, and I do tend to look at the keyboard as I type. However, I not a "pecker", and I do use all my fingers. Just not properly. I doubt I could lose my bad habits and gain proper ones at my age. In truth, I type as quick as I need to for what I have to do. If I were to type quicker, my thought processes over what I should be typing would get left behind.

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Doc Tor
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I learnt to touch-type as a graduate student, through Mavis Beacon - it was heavily encouraged by our IT technician.

I knew I'd cracked it when I was able to hold a conversation, read a report and type it the text simultaneously.

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Marvin the Martian

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I generally look at the keyboard, but I use more than just my index fingers and I'm pretty quick in general. Not professional typist quick, but plenty quick enough for any jobs I'm ever likely to need to do, and certainly faster than many of my colleagues.

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Pearl B4 Swine
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# 11451

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I was sent to Business School one summer to satisfy my mother, a retired stenographer, so that I could presumably have skills to get a job. Typing and Shorthand. It was like the Spanish Inquisition. The grumpy teacher did all but smack you with a ruler for peeping at the keyboard, or making errors.
There was also a typewriter with blank keys, to test you.
Gregg shorthand was pure torture. I never did get anything like "skill".

The typewriters were mechanical. You had to really strike the keys with gusto. And Oh, the agony of correcting 3 carbon copies! Ask a kid today what carbon paper is, or even what a typewriter is. LOL

I push my keyboard all over my computer table, so when I slide it close to use it I often put my fingers in the wrong 'home' position. I do sort of touch type, but visually check in often.
And -oh the joy of simply backing up to erase whatever you want to get rid of.
[Yipee]

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Penny S
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It wasn't tasught in grammar schools, as far as I can tell. In my technical school, it wasn't taught to the technical stream, but was to the commercial stream. They sat in the old chapel of the converted private school (connected with Charles Kingsley at its founding), typing to music to get a steady rhythm. I don't know about secondary modern schools.

I think the idea was that if one were headed for the more intellectually taxing careers, it would do us no good to have qualifications which would send us into the typing pool. There was a status thing involved. No-one could foresee the end of the pool and the spread of the keyboard to the directors' suites.

My father, who could touch type (don't know how he learned) thought we should learn and gave me a book of exercises, and I got as far as asdfg/lkjh. He was ashamed of the way I type, as he thought that if one was to do something, one should do it properly.

I sort of know my way around, and can type as fast as I need to. Sometimes I look, sometimes I don't. When I do, I sort of get the next few strokes at once as a shape, rather than one letter at a time. (I've only just worked out that this is what I am doing.)

*typo left at start as it is relevant. Typo here removed as I spotted it in passing. No other edits necessary. Except that comma that got in after passing.

[ 23. May 2014, 13:48: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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JoannaP
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quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
In my day typing was one of those things - like Domestic Science - that was seen as a female skill. I'm pretty sure I have an RSA Stage III certificate in it somewhere.

At my girls' school, secretarial skills were only available for the less academically inclined. I think it was assumed that those of us expected to go to university would employ secretaries ourselves.

As it is, I am a lousy typist and there a bunch of typos that I regularly make but I get by and it does not seem worth the investment in time to learn to type properly.

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Lamb Chopped
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I was taught in middle school, though I was the slowest in the class. Now I'm ca 90 words a minute due to a career in writing and publishing!

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Brenda Clough
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Like the wind.

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Chocoholic
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I was taught to touch type but now tend to use all but my little fingers, mainly the index and middle ones. I partly look at the keys but don't need to. I'm quite quick but not marvellously accurate (yep that probably means my method isn't the best but old habits die hard) so spend more time correcting the mistakes.

We have some easy clean keyboards at work, where it's essentially rubber covered but with no definition between the keys like this
I have huge difficulty using them, especially without looking, absolute gobbledygook comes out on the screen.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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# 5521

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Yes, it was "the" elective to take in high school, for both boys and girls, especially college-bound. I learned to touch type and am pretty good at it -- seldom need to look at the keyboard.

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L'organist
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# 17338

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I was given the basis of touch-typing in hospital as a teenager. Not policy but circumstance: we had very heavy snow and only two teachers made it through the snow so one (a primary specialist) did the little children, the other was a touch-typist meant for one patient but she ended up teaching four of us!

After I came out and while I convalesced I continued at home and, while I may not use all the 'correct' fingers, I still manage a better than respectable speed - but then I am a keyboard player!

I was very surprised to discover that typing skills weren't on the radar when my children were at school so I unearthed an old portable typewriter and got them going through the tried-and-tested method of bribery - it worked.

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leo
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I did typing at age 14 to avoid woodwork. One of only three boys in a class mainly of girls.

I used to cheat by looking at the keyboard until the teacher covered all the keys - then I lagged behind.

I type with two fingers but have become quick at it.

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Macrina
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I (29 year old Brit) was never taught to type but I'm pretty quick and I can touch type until you point out I can, whereupon I can't.
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Pomona
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25yo Brit, was never taught to touch type formally but can do so thanks to instant messaging programmes and spending hours on the internet from the early 00s onwards [Big Grin]

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Sir Kevin
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I can type 5 or 700 words in an hour when I am working on one of my unpublished (thus far) novels. I took a typing course at age 12 but have only become adept in the last 3 years.

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cliffdweller
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As a girl in school during the 70s, I was taught touch typing in high school. It was a very handy skills for decades-- I put myself & my first husband through college & graduate school as a faculty secretary (love that tuition remission!). I thought I had job security, knowing that whatever else happened career-wise I could always get a job as a secretary anytime anywhere. Of course, that all changed with the word processor. Not that I'm complaining-- when I did my final doctoral degree, the difference between being a student with even a cheap computer w/ word processing and one with access to even the best typewriter (IBM selectric, of course) was so significant to practically bring me to tears.

I haven't taken a typing test in probably 3 decades so don't know my exact time, but would say I'm still very fast & quite accurate, and never look at my keyboard. (The 10 key adding machine speed, otoh, has completely deteriorated). The generational differences appear more marked when it comes to texting-- there I'm strictly an index finger typist, very inaccurate (hate that autocorrect!) and slow.

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bib
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When I was at school, typing was only offered to those students taking the commercial stream and not to those doing the academic subjects. hence I never learnt to type other than with the two finger version I'm using at this moment. It seems strange that I can play quite complex works on the piano but have never succeeded in learning to type despite my best efforts. My own children seem very competent at typing despite not having formal lessons - I'm starting to think such skills are now present from birth!!!

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la vie en rouge
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A previous law firm I worked at organised training in touch typing for the whole secretarial staff (this was in Paris, so French AZERTY keyboard). I average out about 60 words a minute – faster in English than in French because there are no accents to deal with. I was taught that the main aim is accuracy. If you focus on that in the first instance, you will end up typing quickly in any case because you spend so much less time going back to correct mistakes. I don’t look at the keys (I actually make more mistakes when I do. Looking at your fingers also supposedly makes you lose time because you don’t notice the mistakes so soon.)

I think it’s a pretty useful skill to have, and makes typing not only faster, but also much more comfortable. Actually the trainer we had insisted that what we were primarily learning was ergonomy. Using the right fingers is only one part of typing in a way that allows you to work faster and with less discomfort. The placement of your screen and keyboard (and the document you are typing from, if there is one) along with your general posture, also have an effect on your typing speed and accuracy. (For example, I would be typing this faster and with less mistakes if I wasn’t sitting with my legs crossed right now [Biased] .) This comes in handy when typing long documents because you can keep going and going and not get a cramp.

Because I touch-type (I need to feel the bumpy guide keys in the middle), I loathe typing on a tablet or similar.

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Hugal
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There were typing lessons at my school in the 80's but it was for those who thought they would want to do secretarial work. Later in life I did a course with Pitman Training but it was really for those who type as part their work, I didn't and don't. Not long after I joined John Lewis I did a computer based course in my lunch time call Kewala's Amazing Typing Adventure. You learn to type whilst follow a Koala round around Australia and into the coral reef. He rides on the back of several different creatures and you learn something of Australian culture as you go. I don't type enough now to be very fast and accurate but do well enough.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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It was alleged to be the easiest elective in grade 9. Not for me it wasn't. Manual type writers, teacher with a knuckle-rapping ruler. I barely squeaked by.

In university, I handwrote essays and papers until graduate school, which was about the time they stopped accepting non-typed papers. I wrote my MA thesis and PhD dissertation in notebooks, one side with the facing page for revisions, then took them to a typist who used an upgraded IBM Selectric, which allowed 2 lines to be typed and viewed on a wee screen before committing the words to paper. I still have the hand written versions of the theses.

I type with my left index finger and right index and 2nd finger, with right thumb for the space bar. I can do this without really looking though I detect my peripheral vision views the keys. I am absolute terrible on a phone keyboard. I dictate just about everything I write longer than a short paragraph at the office ("dictated, not read").

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BroJames
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I learnt to type with more than two fingers using lansyst Ltd's Iankey Two Finger to Touch Typing Conversion Course in the mid-80s on my then new Amstrad PCW 8512! I wasn't taught at school in the 70s.

i got up to a fairly respectable speed using most of my fingers, but never quite had the push to make it to full touch typing. I rarely did copy typing which is what it is most useful for, and can type as fast as I can think when I am composing letters, reports etc.

I occasionally think I'd like to refresh what my fingers once knew, but have lost as I have changed keyboards many times and have changed the frequency with which I use them.

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The5thMary
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I took typing classes in high school...when they had the old typewriters with the damn ribbons and the return carriage...ugh! However, I always cheated and looked at the keys when I could. It sort of defeated the purpose of learning to type. When I was much older I took a Microsoft Office certification class and we had to learn to touch type. Cheating wasn't even an option as the class size was very small and the instructor seemed to have eyes in the back of her head! Anyway, I'm not sure if it was the Mavis Beacon course or something similar but, by golly, I practiced at it and it stuck! I can touch type pretty well these days and it's really come in handy. I would recommend it to anyone. Now, when it comes to typing tests, I still do horribly. I guess I'm one of these people who suffers from test phobia.

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The5thMary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I was taught in middle school, though I was the slowest in the class. Now I'm ca 90 words a minute due to a career in writing and publishing!

You people! [Biased] One of my sisters types 90+ words a minute but she was a typesetter waaaaay back in the day and has been employed as a Graphic Designer/Desktop Publisher for ages after the typesetting gig. I think the highest typing speed I ever had was 55 w.p.m. I generally freeze during typing tests and start looking at the keys. Even sitting here thinking about taking a typing test has my stomach tying itself into knots! Wow.

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mousethief

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# 953

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I took the touch-typing course in high school, my only non-academic course (other than P.E.). I have never regretted it. On the miserable IBM Selectrix I, with its absurd ball that would render hyphens if you typed too fast for it. I was always getting "t-e" for "the" because I typed it too fast. I had to sandbag to keep from getting dinged for mistakes.

I made some good beer money during university and grad school typing other people's papers. This was, of course, in the days before everyone had their own word processor.

Last time I was tested, I tested at 90 wpm with no errors.

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churchgeek

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I started trying to learn touch-typing on my mom's old manual typewriter when I was a kid (which wasn't easy with those keys and my little fingers!). In high school (I graduated in '89), I took a typing class, where we learned on electric typewriters that had a little screen on them and enough memory that you typed in a line and the typewriter would only type after you hit "return." (Remember those?)

Most people I know who can't type are men who are a bit older than me. It wouldn't have been considered a skill they needed at all when they were in school, although if they went to college, they might have had to hunt and peck or hire someone to type up their papers.

(In college I had an electric typewriter that didn't have that memory in it. I was never good at identifying when I was near the bottom of a page, so I bought erasable bond - remember that? - and when the paper fell out of the typewriter, I erased the last few lines and re-typed them on the next page. My senior year, everyone on my floor in the dorm protested the noise my typewriter made - it was rather loud - and forced me to acquaint myself with the computer lab in the building. That was my introduction to word processing...)

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Zacchaeus
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I went to a grammar school in the 1970’s and we were not taught typing. I did ask for it but was told in no uncertain terms that if I wanted to do typing I should go to a secondary modern school!!

We were taught academic subjects and that was that, of course this was just before the advent of computers and before it was realised that one day we would all want to use keyboards..

So while I don't just use 2 fingers my accuracy is not good.

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North East Quine

Curious beastie
# 13049

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Originally posted by Penny S:
quote:
I think the idea was that if one were headed for the more intellectually taxing careers, it would do us no good to have qualifications which would send us into the typing pool. There was a status thing involved. No-one could foresee the end of the pool and the spread of the keyboard to the directors' suites.
I was advised against learning to type at school, because I was aiming for a professional career. A female solicitor told girls at my school that in professional offices, if a solicitor / chartered accountant etc could type, their secretary would be used to cover other secretarial illnesses etc, leaving the hapless typing professional to do it herself (it would be a "herself" - it was a given that male professionals would not be able to type.)

This advice was re-iterated by another female solicitor when I worked in a legal office during the Uni holidays.

Short term, it was good advice in 1980, but nowadays I wish I had learned. I type with my right index finger alone. I'm quite fast, though.

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Fineline
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# 12143

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I'm British and I learnt to touchtype in the sixth form (part of schooling between age 16 and 18). It was an optional course we could do, along with Pitman's shorthand. That was around 24 years ago. I didn't much like it, so only went to a few lessons and then quit, but I at least learnt roughly where the keys are by touch, so later when I went to uni and was typing up essays, I quickly learnt to increase my speed. Mostly I've taught myself. I can't touch type the numbers though - only the letters and punctuation. I guess because numbers were never a part of my essays, so I never had any need to learn them.

But yes, I notice quite a few people don't touchtype - when I express frustration that I can't type fast on a phone's tiny keyboard, because of pressing each key with one finger, lots of people don't get it - they tell me it's possible to type very fast on a phone. But it really isn't, compared with touchtyping on a laptop keyboard!

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Athrawes
Ship's parrot
# 9594

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I did a typing course at TAFE after finishing school. Manual typewriters, correct posture and emphasis on accuracy. I graduated with a speed of 80 wpm and 98% accuracy! but am much slower now. I have to use 2 fingers for the tablet, but still touch type, using the guide keys, at work. People are fascinated that I can type without looking, and know when I've made a mistake [Big Grin]

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Explaining why is going to need a moment, since along the way we must take in the Ancient Greeks, the study of birds, witchcraft, 19thC Vaudeville and the history of baseball. Michael Quinion.

Posts: 2966 | From: somewhere with a book shop | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Uncle Pete

Loyaute me lie
# 10422

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I learnt to touchtype when I was 14. I was in physical rehabilitation at the time, and this was an offer of the Occupational Therapist.

Best thing I ever did. My teachers were grateful because they didn't have to decipher my handwriting.

I owned a little portable which I used until I was 25 and after that a proper Underwood 5. I then graduated to IBM when I was first working, and when I migrated to oomputer keyboards I maintained my typing. I still look down when I am checking function keys. Very interesting life skill.

Haven't a clue what my speed is. Around 40 wpm, but it goes to 50 or so when I copy.

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Even more so than I was before

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Uncle Pete

Loyaute me lie
# 10422

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quote:
Originally posted by PeteC:
I learnt to touchtype when I was 14. I was in physical rehabilitation at the time, and this was an offer of the Occupational Therapist.

Best thing I ever did. My teachers were grateful because they didn't have to decipher my handwriting.

I owned a little portable which I used until I was 25 and after that a proper Underwood 5. I then graduated to IBM when I was first working, and when I migrated to oomputer keyboards I maintained my typing. I still look down when I am checking function keys. Very interesting life skill.

Haven't a clue what my speed is. Around 40 wpm, but it goes to 50 or so when I copy.

I type using a USA keyboard layout, but when I was working, Canadian multi-lingual stardard keyboard. Proficient in both.

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Even more so than I was before

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Rowen
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# 1194

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No typing taught in my Australian schools.
But I have learnt to be pretty quick with just a few fingers.
If I learnt the proper way now, I think I would get all confused.

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"May I live this day… compassionate of heart" (John O’Donoghue)...

Posts: 4897 | From: Somewhere cold in Victoria, Australia | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Graven Image
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# 8755

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Way back in the mid 50's my cousin went off to college. She soon wrote me and said take typing and shorthand you will never be sorry when you get to college. At that time your high school classes were tracked business school or college. Normally if you were in the college track you did not take what were thought of as business courses. She was right. My aunt on the other hand told me when looking for a job never tell them you can type or you will end up stuck in the secretarial pool, no matter your degree. My how times have changed. I am glad 60 years later I took my aunt's and cousin's advice although I have long forgotten the shorthand I used for college notes.
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The Kat in the Hat
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# 2557

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Although my school had 2 fully equipped classrooms for typing (& shorthand) that was never an option for me - I was too academic. Even in 6th form, when they were trying to find options to keep us from having too many free periods - did they consider a typing class?
I learnt after leaving school & only wish they had!
My favourite trick when teaching was to be giving instructions to the class and simultaneously typing them in. My speed matched my speech & they would be amazed, as I had been looking at them the whole time.

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Less is more ...

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Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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Woah! Awesome!

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Evangeline
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# 7002

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quote:
Originally posted by Rowen:
No typing taught in my Australian schools.
But I have learnt to be pretty quick with just a few fingers.
If I learnt the proper way now, I think I would get all confused.

I know of some Australian "laptop" schools, ie private schools where laptops are standard equipment and they teach typing in as much as they provide learn to type software and some time in primary school to learn the skill (those joining in secondary have to take extra classes to catch-up).
Posts: 2871 | From: "A capsule of modernity afloat in a wild sea" | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
jedijudy

Organist of the Jedi Temple
# 333

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Yes, it was "the" elective to take in high school, for both boys and girls, especially college-bound.

My parents really encouraged me to take typing in high school. (I had the same typing teacher that they did!) College prep students could take it as an elective, and I'm glad I did. Business course students were required to take typing, of course, but they got the electric typewriters. We had the manuals.

My old Underwood could be used even during a power outage! [Biased]

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Jasmine, little cat with a big heart.

Posts: 18017 | From: 'Twixt the 'Glades and the Gulf | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

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# 11770

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I learnt to type the summer I broke my arm at university and was stuck at home not able to do anything much. A lovely lady in the next door village was a retired typing teacher and she taught on a manual typewriter and a lot about layout and design as well as typing.

I have since earned money using my typing skills, and find it incredibly useful. I've slowed down again because I rarely copy type now, mostly type my own words, but it saved so much time when I was producing service sheets regularly.

Another useful support thing was typing in essays for students to their dictation - we just talked through the topic and I typed what they were saying and my prompts, and this produced work that they could then edit or use as it was if they needed it. That's for write ups of projects or other coursework for students who were very academically weak. But the problem was that they saw me touch type and then were reluctant to type for themselves because they could see how much quicker I was.

And I agree about touch typing and phones. My phone is set up on number pad layout because I find the keyboard layout maddening because I can't touch type using it, and using it to input means I stop touch typing.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13794 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Search and Destroy, I'm afraid.

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

Posts: 18917 | From: "Central" is all they call it | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Dennis the Menace
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# 11833

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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
Search and Destroy, I'm afraid.

I friend who is a stenographer, calls it the'Hunt and Peck' method.

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"Till we cast our crowns before Him; Lost in wonder, love, and praise."

Posts: 853 | From: Newcastle NSW Australia | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by Macrina:
I (29 year old Brit) was never taught to type but I'm pretty quick and I can touch type until you point out I can, whereupon I can't.

Ditto (well apart from the youth !)

I have been using computers since I was 14 - so picked up as I went along. Still find tablet typing more difficult though.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Paul.
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# 37

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Never formally learnt to type but been using computers since age 11 (I'm 47 now). So whilst I don't touch type I do use two hands and rarely look at the keyboard (though I do make healthy use of the delete key).

My first post-university job was a graduate trainee-ship and I got offered various training courses throughout the first year. One of these was typing and I decided that using computers learning to type "properly" would be handy. I duly turned up to the training centre on the day only to find that I was the only attendee on that particular occasion. The instructor and I had a brief conversation and in the end I was left to my own devices with a copy of some PC-based typing program (Mavis Beacon I think.) I mostly did the exercises and once I realised that my wpm and accuracy whilst not up to secretarial levels was pretty healthy already I didn't really try to re-train my fingers. I think that may have been a mistake.

Hate typing on tablets but not as much as on mobile phones. Chances are if you get an SMS from me it was sent via an app I use that allows me to type on my computer. [Smile]

Posts: 3689 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged



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